Under the EU’s driver hour rules, truck drivers must use a reliable and recognised tachograph to track their vehicle speed, distance and journey duration.
The introduction of tachographs was to create safer roads and motorways, by preventing truckers from driving during periods of tiredness and low concentration.
What are the tachograph rules?
If you are a truck driver, understanding tachograph rules and regulations can be somewhat confusing. The rules include:
Introduced to improve road safety, driving hours aims to reduce the impact fatigue and loss of concentration can have whilst driving.
For anybody driving a goods or passenger-carrying vehicle, the maximum driving hours are:
- 9 hours per day, which can be extended to 10 hours twice a week
- 56 hours per week
- 90 hours per fortnight
All hours must be recorded on a tachograph.
Driving breaks must correlate with the maximum driving hours. Drivers must take a 45 minute break after 4 hours and 30 minutes of driving.
This break can be split, known as a “split break” with a 15 minute and 30 minute break instead of one 45 minute break.
Daily and weekly rest
Drivers must also complete their minimum hours of rest per day, which is at least 11 hours of rest.
Weekly rest periods help to prevent exhaustion and burn-out. The minimum rest period for each week is an unbroken period of 45 hours, which can be reduced to 24 hours every other week.
Driver safety is extremely important and is only becoming more heavily enforced with the increased demand for long-haul drivers and couriers. Features such as tachograph data and dashcam driver awareness warnings are favoured heavily by fleet managers.
What is the 6 hour rule?
The six hour rule suggests that drivers should not have more than six hours of driving without taking a break.
Before driving for more than six hours, it is compulsory to take a break of at least 15 minutes.
Can you drive a 7.5 tonne lorry without a tacho?
You do not need a Tachograph to drive a 7.5 tonne lorry for personal reasons, you will only require an appropriate driving licence for a vehicle of that size.
You may need to prove that the trip is not for commercial purposes, which is possible if you have a dashcam or some sort of tracking device in the vehicle to show your whereabouts.
Some dash cams come with built in telematics features such as tachographs, meaning they are perfect for truck drivers. If you are looking for a dashcam that has a tachograph system built-in, you may also want to consider other important features of a dash cam at the same time to ensure the best results.
When can you drive without a tacho card?
You can only drive without a tacho card if your valid card has been lost, stolen or damaged to the extent it will not function in the digital tachometer.
You must inform the DVLA that it has been lost, stolen or damaged. The DVLA are required to issue a new tacho card within five working days of your report to them. You can drive a maximum of 15 calendar days without a tacho card, so this shouldn’t be an issue.
However, if your tacho card is expired, you cannot drive until the replacement card arrives.
How do I download a lorry tachograph?
Each tachograph tends to follow the same simple steps to downloading vehicle data:
- Turn the ignition on
- Insert the company card into slot one of the tacho device and wait for the company name to appear
- Insert the download tool into the device
If you’re unsure how to use your tachograph, it’s always worth looking at the instructions manual or asking a colleague for assistance.
If you have a dashcam with telematics built in, you may be able to see your tachographs data through apps which are linked to your dashcam, or through connecting to a computer or laptop.
How often do you download digital tachographs?
Data from the digital tachographs must be downloaded by the driver at least once every 28 days and for the vehicle at least every 90 days.
You must retain the data for inspection for a period of 12 months.
How do I download my digital card?
Again, tachographs usually follow the same simple steps for downloading digital tacho cards. Simply insert the card into the tacho card reader and the data will be sent from the card to secure servers ready for analysis.
Some tachographs may send an email with the data on for your convenience.
For more information, you can head over to the Government’s website to review all the current tachograph rules and regulations.